About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ka`u News Briefs Feb. 26, 2013

Hikers came across remains of a decaying whale south of Honu`apo yesterday. Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
HAWAIIAN ISLANDS HUMPBACK WHALE National Marine Sanctuary representatives came to Ka`u today to look for a possibly pregnant monk seal who has been coming ashore at Punalu`u and Green Sands Beaches. Justin Viesbicke said he hopes people will stay away from the seal who was born in 2004, possibly on Moloka`i. He said he also hopes to reach the site of a decaying beached whale south of Honu`apo.
      About a half dozen whales have washed up onto the shores of the Big Island in the last year, including the one seen yesterday by hikers along the Ka`u Coast and another last summer at Ninole. The decaying remains of the unidentified species seen Monday may have come from a whale that could have been more than 30 feet long, as judged from the bones of possibly its cranium, which appeared to be about five feet wide, hikers said.
Whale's cranium bone appear to be about five feet wide.
Photo by Geneveve Fyvie
      Anyone seeing marine mammals in distress, entangled, beached or washed ashore can contact Viesbicke at justin.viezbicke@noaa.gov, 327-3697 or 987-0765.

NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY FOUNDATION’S Hawai`i Chapter was announced yesterday. It “marks a major milestone in the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation’s efforts to engage local communities throughout the nation in support of our national marine sanctuaries. This chapter will empower local leaders, stakeholders, and local residents to play an active role in supporting the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary,” said a statement from the organization.
     NMSF president Jason Patlis said, “This is a game-changer for how we support our national marine sanctuaries. National marine sanctuaries are nationally significant resources and places that anchor local coastal economies and communities. A local enterprise backed by national support combines the best of both worlds.” 
      Hawai`i NMSF was first piloted in July 2012, twelve years after founding of National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. It was approved by NMSF Board of Trustees on Nov. 28. Lynette Poncin, chair of Hawai`i NMSF, said: “Its mission is to inspire, educate, and engage people of Hawai`i’s culturally-rich and diverse marine ecosystems by supporting the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. The chapter is managed by a volunteer board made up of representatives from each of Hawai`i’s main islands and will coalesce community support for important initiatives to protect Hawai`i’s humpback whales and promote the value of national marine sanctuaries. 
      “Few people know that the thousands of endangered humpback whales that spend their winters here are in waters designated and protected as a national marine sanctuary. As a locally based chapter of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, Hawai`i NMSF seeks to increase public awareness of this important fact.”
      Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is one of 14 sites in the national marine sanctuary system. An estimated 10,000 humpbacks visit the sanctuary annually and foundatino members say they are committed to the long-term protection of this endangered species.
      Sanctuary duperintendent Malia Chow said: “Hawai`i NMSF will help the sanctuary further reach out and build support of communities around the state. We are excited about the opportunities that the newly established chapter will create and look forward to having them as part of our sanctuary `ohana.” 
      For more information, visit HawaiiNMSF.org.

REGARDING  `AINA KOA PONO, the Public Utilities Commission last week published responses to more questions asked by the state Consumer Advocate, Hawai`i County and Life of the Land. The questions concern the proposed contract for `Aina Koa Pono to annually sell, at a fixed price for 20 years, 16 million gallons of diesel that would be manufactured at a refinery off Wood Valley Road above Pahala. The fuel, produced in 27 microwave units, would be sold to Hawai`i Electric Light and Hawaiian Electric Companies, with most of it trucked up Hwy 11 to a power plant in Kona. Electric bills on O`ahu and the Big Island would increase.
      “Please compare anticipated biomass yields per acre with actual experience in Hawai`i,” requested attorneys from Hawai`i County. “Convert these actual yields into estimates of how many cultivated acres will be required, and how many total acres this implies—along with required infrastructure (roads), supply yards, storage. Are there this many acres available on the Island of Hawai`i?
      “If AKP proposes making 16 million gallons on 12,000 acres, the AKP numbers imply production rates of 1,333 gallons per acre. It’s obvious this is much higher than other sources, about three times more productive than palm oil (which is a more direct route to biodiesel: since one starts with longer chain fatty acids) Please explain such productivity?”
      The utilities replied that, “according to AKP, it anticipates meeting all of the project’s feedstock needs from the land currently under consideration. Testing during 2013 will identify the exact details. With AKP’s farming methods, it is anticipated that a mature energy grass crop will be available for harvest in approximately nine months. Therefore, using sequential planting and harvesting methods, a continual supply of feedstock will be available. The advantages are many with a facility located on former sugar cane land. The infrastructure (roads and erosion controls) is already in place and should only need inspection and some slight improvements. Supply yards and storage is a function of commercially available and proven methods that are designed specifically for regional variability and local considerations.
      “According to AKP, there is no shortage of available productive acres on the Island of Hawai`i. In addition, there is also no shortage of excellent labor resources on the Island of Hawai`i. AKP states that the yield per acre and production of ethanol and biodiesel is an “apples to pineapples” comparison. Ethanol is a conversion of extracted sugars from a plant source, and biodiesel is dependent on extraction and conversion of plant oils. Neither process efficiently extracts the base energy content (sugars or oils). The MicroDee process targets the carbon and sugar content within the feedstock and through heat and catalysts, efficiently converts the majority of energy within the feedstock without having to initially go through an extraction (squeezing or pressing) process.
      “Feedstock yields of pyrolytic oils are consistently in the range of 80 gallons per ton of feedstock. Some other non-energy grass or woody biomass feedstock, not in consideration for this AKP project, has the potential of even greater yields. AKP is not producing a synthetic diesel with any fatty acids. The product from the MicroDee process is a synthetic diesel with the properties of a fossil diesel.
      “AKP is not producing oilseed crops. AKP is producing energy grass crops and will also be using woody biomass crops. The MicroDee process has demonstrated to AKP that biomass feedstock generally produced 80 gallons per ton of synthetic diesel.”
Sen. Russell Ruderman
      Ka`u News Briefs will cover more responses in the coming days.
      Complete responses to all questions are online at puc.hawaii.gov. Docket number is 2012-0185.

SEN. RUSSELL RUDERMAN meets with constituents at Pahala Plantation House today at 5 p.m. to discuss issues before the state Legislature. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, call 974-4000, ext. 66890.

A NIGHT OF IMPROV is set for Saturday, March 2 at 7:30 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Alohaha’s Improv-Sketch-Comedy troupe performs a series of improvisational games and original comedy sketches. $10 tickets are available at the door at 7 p.m. for adults 18 years old and over. For more, call 345-2571 or email thealohahas@gmail.com.

Image from Debra Serrao
WOMEN’S ENERGY WORKSHOP takes place Sunday, March 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Shizuno Nasu’s Volcano Village Dance Studio. The workshop features yoga and dance meditation with Nasu and Debra Serrao focusing on the Sacred Feminine. $55 includes lunch; space is limited. Register with Debra at 985-7545 or debwhiteflower@hotmail.com or Shizuno at 967-8574 or shizunodance@gmail.com.